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Friday, March 21, 2014

When the Devil Smiles……

By Chuck Semenuk

      Angus Guthrie was becoming frustrated with his attempts to place a long distance telephone call to his old friend Alistair Smythe. Communications between the little hamlet of Cairndora, Warshire Scotland and London, England left much to be desired. Finally, the London operator told him to hang up and she would call him when she was able to reach Smythe. Angus angrily slammed down the receiver and walked to the bar, pouring himself a draught of cold ale. “If ye drink enough o’ that, ye won’t remember what ye wanted tae say tae yer friend when ye finally get ‘im,” laughed Angus’ wife Sarah as she came from the kitchen with an order of food for the guests seated in a far corner of the pleasant dining room. “A’m not in the mood, woman!” growled Angus.

      Life in Cairndora had been idyllic for the past five years. He vividly remembered the night that he helped his good friend Brian MacNain exorcise the terrible MacNain curse and his nephew’s possession by Black Donald. After all that time, it now seems that the dreaded Black Donald has returned to terrorize the town’s citizens. The local constable was at a loss. The discovery of one or two new dead bodies a week was more than he was able to deal with. Major crimes had been nonexistent in Cairndora during these last years. Angus knew that the town would need expert help to get life back on an even keel again. The only person Angus could think of was another old friend, Alistair Smythe.

     As Angus took a deep swallow of ale, he heard the telephone ring. “Angus, It’s yer friend Mister Smythe from London callin,” hollered Sarah. Angus quickly ran to the phone. “Smythe, ar ye thaur?”

     “I’m here, old chum. It’s been a long time since we’ve enjoyed a few mugs of ale together. Good to hear your voice again,” replied Smythe.

     “A’ll get richt tae it, Smythe. We need yer help. Hae ye heard the tale of Black Donald?”

     “If I remember right, it’s what you Scots call the Devil. If you see him, he takes the form of an old man in a black suit; except that he moves about on cloven hooves instead of human feet. I can’t say that I believe the tale. I always thought it was a legend concocted by an old grandmother to keep the children from misbehaving.”

     “Ye got ‘im awl richt, Smythe. A can tell ye from ma personal experience that auld Donald is real,” exclaimed Angus. “A canna explain aur problem fully on the telephone. It also includes a family curse on my friends the MacNains. A hae a proposition fer ye. A ken ye and yer friend Miss Fienbody enjoy a guid mystery. If ye can help us, the Missus and I can provide ye with food and lodging here at the Inn fer as long as ye want.”

     “Hmm. It certainly sounds intriguing. I’ll have to speak with Fienbody first. Is the train still the best way?”

     “Aye. If ye take the train from London to Dundee, A’ll hae a motor car pick ye up at the station an bring ye to Cairndora. If ye ar comin, send me a telegram whit yer train time.”

     “I will do that, old friend. I’m sure that we’ll see you soon.”

     “Guid bye, Smythe. A hope ye can come.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

     Darby County Sheriff Sam Danza awoke to the incessant ringing of his telephone.  Fumbling in the dark, he found the phone and placed it to his ear.  After a mumbled hello he was greeted by silence, and then a dial tone.
     “Damn fool.  Probably a wrong number.”
     After tossing around for awhile, he finally dozed off.  Suddenly, the phone began ringing again.  Holding the phone to his ear, he was again greeted by a period of silence and a dial tone.

     “Who in hell is that?” he scowled.  

     The phone rang a couple more times with the same result.  It was now 3 o’clock in the morning.  With sleep all but impossible now, Danza got out of bed and shuffled down the hall to the kitchen.  Switching on the light over the sink, he poured a cup of stale coffee and heated it in the microwave.  He sat at the small table and slowly sipped at the nasty tasting brew.  The coffee soon had the desired effect and he went back to the bedroom to get dressed.
The drive to the Sheriff’s office was uneventful.  The streets were totally devoid of people and traffic.  “This town is a spooky place at this hour,” Danza mumbled to himself.  

     Parking behind the office building, he entered the rear door.  Deputy Tommy Sorbo was busy at his desk, not noticing the Sheriff coming up behind him.  Seeing that Tommy was in the middle of a video game on his computer Danza thought briefly about head slapping him into next week but then, decided to have a little fun.  He quietly picked up a nearby metal waste basket and at an appropriate time in the game action, slammed it to the floor behind Tommy.  Tommy jumped, his knees banging against the bottom of the desk drawer and his coffee spilling into his lap.

     Tommy’s eyes had a look of real fear and his mouth hung open as he turned and saw Danza, his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.  “Sh-sh-sheriff Danza!  I didn’t hear you come in!”

     “Obviously!” he exclaimed.  “Some wild-eyed sex perv could have walked in and took your sweet young virgin butt.”  Danza couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of the stammering young Deputy, a big wet spot on the front of his pants.  

     “Go clean yourself up, Tommy.  I’d hate to have a citizen walk in and think you just sit here peeing yourself at tax payer’s expense all night.”

     Danza took some paper towels and wiped up the puddle of coffee from Tommy’s desk and the floor under his chair.  He then went to his office and began looking at old FAX’s that had come in from neighboring counties during the previous day.

     After a short while, a sheepish looking Tommy emerged from the bathroom. 

     “I’m sorry about the video game, Sheriff. There was just nothing going on tonight.  What brings you in at this hour?”